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5.0 out of 5 starsA wonderful end to Harry's brilliant LAPD career
Reviewed in the United States on May 26, 2020
For some strange reason I've never read Connelly's books in order, I started with The Poet and then my grandmother of all people turned me onto Harry Bosch. As much as I love reading these Bosch novels somehow I never read them in the order they were intended but the quality of writing is so superb that it doesn't matter. These books go so quickly that I find myself laying in bed at 4 in the morning after wanting to read a chapter before I went to sleep six or seven hours earlier. Harry is a cop's cop, he fights the good fight and makes sure everyone matters. He fights for the truth, as un-politically correct as that is now days and refuses to suffer fools kindly. This book grabbed me from the beginning, Harry gets not one but two cold cases, decades old, with no prospect of resolution but pushes on to find the justice that's been denied for so long. He sets out to mentor "Lucky Lucy" Soto, his newest partner (not the healthiest occupation in these books) as his time with the LAPD is coming to a close and from Connelly's other books I'm familiar with her but it's nice to see firsthand howtheirbond originated. The last chapter was the hardest for me, I got so caught up I forgot it was coming and the last paragraphs actually brought tears to my eyes. Everyone matters to Harry and dammit, Harry should be able to count on everyone to stand tall for him! One day I hope to retire and read all of Harry's stories in their proper order, I expect I may even discover that I will like them more the second time in chronological order but I'm not sure how that would be possible. I'm now hoping Harry continues to hunt for murderers another 50 years. But I'll settle for another 50 Bosch novels in no particular order.
5.0 out of 5 starsSimply A Masterpiece. (A "Spoiler-Free" Review)
Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2014
In my considered opinion as a retired cop, no crime fiction author does it better than Michael Connelly. His novels featuring Harry Bosch are the most accurate, realistic portrayals of elite detectives solving the toughest cases. Mr. Connelly has remained true to this approach with his latest Harry Bosch novel, "The Burning Room". I have read every one of Michael Connelly's novels, and I have always identified with Harry Bosch. We are of similar age, and I grew up in Southern California, so it's a very familiar location. When it comes to investigations, I wasn't in his league, but I worked with some of the finest detectives in the Pacific Northwest, whose passion and approach paralleled Harry's. So I truly "get" Harry Bosch. "The Burning Room" is Harry Bosch (and Michael Connelly) at his very finest. There is nothing contrived or artificial in the plot, the characters are sharply-drawn when required, and sufficiently murky when not. The plot includes real events from Los Angeles history, which are woven seamlessly into the cold cases Harry and his new partner, Detective Lucia Soto, as assigned to solve. I pre-ordered this novel last week, downloaded it onto my Kindle early Thursday morning, and finished it just now (Saturday morning). Even though it felt like the experience ended too soon, I didn't feel cheated by how "The Burning Room" ended...it finished with the perfect tone, nothing bogus about it. If you are a fan of Harry Bosch novels, I predict you will enjoy every minute of "The Burning Room". One caveat to my glowing recommendation: If this is the first Harry Bosch novel you plan to read, it won't have nearly the same emotional impact as it will for devoted followers. Yes, it stands on its own, but "The Burning Room" truly benefits from context.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe Travails of Time & a Two-Fer
Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2015
Michael Connelly made the decision some time back to allow LAPD Homicide Detective Harry Bosch to age along with the rest of us. Unlike other series detectives he is not immune to the travails of time, and we are often reminded of that in "The Burning Room," his nineteenth book. Now and then Harry thinks of his own diminishing future with the LAPD, or mentions to other characters that he has only a year remaining in his DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan) contract with Los Angeles' police department, after which he will have to leave for good. His daughter, whom we first met years ago as a child drawing crayon pictures of the absent father who "fought monsters" for a living, is now in her late teens, involved in the Police Explorer Program and thinking of a career in law enforcement herself. Also, Harry has now been teamed with a young girl less than half his age, who was fast-tracked into the detective program because of her race and the outcome of a courageous standoff against a group of armed robbers; because of her inexperience and age, Harry is motivated to look back over his long career with the Department and the often dire circumstances that overtook his many past partners.
Harry is still working in the Open/Unsolved Section, trying to solve old homicides cases. In a peculiar twist of fate a victim dies and he is given the case...even though the man just died, it stemmed from a shooting ten years earlier, so even though it is a recent death it is also a case that has long been cold. Connelly does a very good job here in showing how advances in technology can be used to look at old crimes with new eyes, and it is this new analysis that allows Harry and his young partner to begin making headway on a case other gave up on long ago. It's not all just forensics, techo-babble and desk-jockeying, however, as Harry applies some old school murder investigation techniques and lots of footwork to rout out old secrets and uncover hidden sins.
Running parallel to the new case is an even older case, a twenty-year-old fire set at an apartment house which resulted in the deaths of nine people, most of them children. Harry's new partner was one of the few children who survived the fire. That fire and her survival not only made her the person she is, but also consumed her thoughts, so that when she was first assigned to Open/Unsolved (at her request) after being made a detective she began a covert investigation on her own. Though she tries to keep Harry out of her private case, his old-fashioned ideas of loyalty bring him into her secret quest for justice, redemption, and the expiation of guilt.
Running two very different investigations concurrently does tend to stretch the narrative a little thin in places, relegating much of Harry's personal life and concerns to the distant background. Connelly does a great job maintaining a balance between the two cases. He is also successful in setting a good pace, not letting either investigation lag or rush to a hurried conclusion. Fans of the character and the series will certainly enjoy the book. At the same time, readers encountering Harry Bosch for the first time will find Harry's often reflective nature a motivation to go back and start at the beginning. Both new and veteran readers will find the book a satisfying read, a story that succeeds because of Harry Bosch, one of the great detective characters of the modern age.
5.0 out of 5 starsFascinating multi-dimensional novel with two intriguing cold cases for Harry Bosch to solve & with a totally unexpected ending!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 7, 2018
If you have never read a Harry Bosch story before, should you start with this one? For me the answer is 'yes and no'. 'Yes', because Michael Connelly has written another fascinating multi-dimensional police procedural novel and 'no' because to really appreciate the many nuances in this story, it helps to have read the earlier books in the series. However, having said this, it is still totally possible to enjoy this novel as a stand-alone story. Harry Bosch is in his final year as a detective in the Los Angeles Police before facing mandatory retirement. He is still working in the Open-Unsolved (i.e. cold case) unit. However, he has been given a new partner, a young rookie detective, Lucia Soto. The way these two characters get to know each other as they start working together is one aspect of the story that I feel Connelly has captured really well. You have the street wise, experienced 'old hand' (Bosch) and the enthusiastic, smart, hard-working, eager to the point of driven, rookie, Soto. Not unexpectedly, things do not go well at first between them but Bosch warms to the task once he notices the different skills and insights that Soto brings to the cases they are working on. At first the story appears to be a traditional police procedural novel; Bosch and Soto get involved in two intriguing cold cases. The first involves a Latino street musician who was a survivor in a drive-by shooting 10 years earlier for whom no-one was apprehended. He has now died from the gunshot wound of that drive-by shooting and the issue for Bosch and Soto is how to solve a case 10 years after the initial incident that ultimately contributed to the death of the musician? The second case relates to the death of nine children in a fire that occurred 20 years ago - a case in which Soto has a personal interest. Bosch and Soto are however facing more than just difficulties arising from a paucity of evidence for these crimes, they also face political interference from the powers that be who seem intent on making it almost impossible for these cases to be solved. As with all of Connelly's Bosch stories, the writing is crisp and easy to follow and the tension builds as the plots develop. But besides the brilliant characterisation of Bosch and Soto, and the insightful observations of their lives from the perspectives of one approaching retirement while the other is setting off with hope and optimism for a bright and successful career, what really caught me totally off-guard was the ending ... I just did not see it coming. So, if you enjoy intelligent, police procedural stories based on great characters and a clever plot then I expect you will enjoy this story, even if you have not read any of the Harry Bosch stories to date. However, if you, like me, have been following Bosch's career from the start of the first novel (The Black Echo), through to this one, then you will find this story reveals yet another dimension of Bosch's character and, like an old friend, you will no doubt empathise with the situations he faces throughout the course of this fantastic novel. In short, a brilliant 'who dunnit' to settle down with and enjoy.
3.0 out of 5 starsBosch Is Still Working Cold Cases but the tale leaves you rather cold
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2016
Not likely to be on my list of favourite Harry Bosch books, decent in some parts but on the whole it was quite easy to tell where the story was going to end up, in terms of the victim and Harry (he makes an usually big slip up part way through which you know is gonna be his downfall).
Harry and his partner Lucia 'Lucky' Soto are assigned a cold case that is still rather warm compared to most, the victim has only just died, ten years after a stray bullet hit him in an apparent drive by shooting. After pressure from the brass to make this a priority due to impending political elections, Harry and Lucia start digging into the history of the case (treading on toes as expected) to find how a lowly Mariachi band member ending up catching possibly a not so random bullet. While working this not so new cold case Harry also helps his partner solve a cold case that set her on the path to becoming a detective herself. What follows is the usual kind of conspiracy tale, with a few twists, that we have comes to know from a Bosch novel.
4.0 out of 5 starsOver-plotted but pacy Bosch yarn
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 30, 2017
Relentless cop Harry Bosch teams up with an equally driven colleague Lucy Soto to work two cold cases. That's the essential premise for The Burning Room - another of the very enjoyable Bosch novels where politics and crime seem inextricably linked in Los Angeles. Connelly drives the story with skill and a detailed knowledge of criminal law and police procedure. Indeed, working alongside Bosch and Soto would be an exhausting experience as neither of them seem to take a break. Both cold cases are complex and multi-layered, which perhaps explains the slightly over-plotted feel at times, especially at the end when Connelly brings the stories to a conclusion that feels slightly disjointed. Typically, Bosch goes out on a defiant note with yet one more brush with authority - a strong way to end the book, although it's clearly not the last we'll hear of Connelly's wonderful creation.
5.0 out of 5 starsBrillian book narrated by the real Harry Bosch, Titus Weliver.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 15, 2017
Narrated by Titus Weliver who plays Bosch in the Amazon Prime series, and an excellent choice for the part. Having seen and heard Titus play Bosch, that is who I hear and see as I read all the books. I have the book but bought this (and other) audio book to play in the car on a long journey. Not a good idea if you do not have a multi-CD cartridge player in the car as fiddling with son many CD's whilst driving is definitely not a good idea! Fortunately my make of car comes with both CD systems so audio books are brilliant on long car journeys, especially as I prefer to drive through the night. It may be a lazy way of appreciating the books but so much more relaxing listening to the right actor.
Well this is different - an actual detective story! Having got rid of another girl friend and another partner, Harry is teamed up with a relative rookie to investigate a cold case which turned into a homicide with the death of the victim ten years after the shooting; he is also tempted into investigating another cold case in which several children were killed in an arson attack. The latter is very important to his new sidekick and he even has the gall to moan at her about this, something he would have done himself without thinking. It all ends badly with Harry being suspended for bending the rules once too often and the biggest culprit escaping justice. It all makes for a routine book almost a contrivance to end Harry’s police career.